gunjou 群青
KEY WORD : art history / paintings
Also *iwagunjou 岩群青. A blue pigment made from pulverized azurite, randoukou 藍銅鉱 or lapis lazuri, seikinseki 青金石; the most important blue pigment used in traditional Japanese painting *nihonga 日本画. Kuujou 空青, mentioned in a Nara period document SHOUSOUIN MONJO 正倉院文書 is thought to refer to the same pigment. The shade and tone of the colour depends on the purity of the minerals used and the size of the pigment particles; smaller particles give a lighter colour. A dark blue colour is often called *konjou 紺青 and a blue-green shade gunroku 群緑. Gunjou can be ground finely to give a light blue colour called *byakugun 白群. Azurite and lapis lazuri are scarce and expensive, and today a synthetically produced version of gunjou called ultramarine blue is commonly used.

*iwa-enogu 岩絵具, *ganryou 顔料

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